Thursday, January 1, 2015

Youth National Team Takeover: Madallyn Peveler

Happy New Year! My name is Madallyn Peveler and I play pivo for the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 Girls National Team

It has been a great week for the U.S. Youth Futsal National Teams. This trip to Canada is a major step in sharing the game of futsal with our country, and the four teams made a great showing. Each team played with heart and showed a true passion for the beautiful game of futsal. Speaking of beautiful, Toronto is an amazing city to visit! Along with its many restaurants and shopping, this trip provided us with the opportunity to play in the brand new Pan American Sports Centre. The facility was top notch and we received a warm welcome each day.

The first day was a great opportunity to get to know our teammates and coaches. When I arrived at our hotel, The Ramada, I got to meet my roommates: Raleigh, Riley, and Amber. We had a team meeting with our coaches and reviewed the schedule for the week. It was obvious a great deal of planning and effort went into this trip to make it a great experience for all players. You could feel the excitement in the room!​ We had been waiting months for this trip and couldn't wait for the chance to step on the court.

On Sunday, each team trained with their coach to go over strategy and get a feel for playing with our teammates, who came from every corner of the country. The training was very intense and helped us prepare for the upcoming matches with Coach Tozer and the other U.S. coaches helping to improve our knowledge of the game.

Matches began the next day! I think it was an amazing experience to be able to walk out in front of a crowd with USA across our chests and hear our national anthem and the Canadian anthem play. That is a memory I won't ever forget. Our first match went pretty well. We came out with a strong win against Canada with a score of 7-3. This was the very first win ever for our U16 national team. Our second match, we came out strong with a 5-1 lead in the first half, but a break down in the second half led to a tough 7-6 loss. However, this inspired our team to come back and prove that the USA never lets a loss keep it down. We came back with a 15-0 shutout against the Lady Futsalers. This was the first shut out of the week. After every game Coach Jason Miller had our team give ourselves grades for several different aspects of the game and Coach Ty Stauffer shared his observations.   Overall, I think this week was a great opportunity to play internationally as well as a learning experience for our team.

Wednesday was a very special day for all, since all the teams came out to support each other. The atmosphere was exciting as we screamed out chants to support whichever team was playing. The entire section of fans and players shouting, "I Believe That We Will Win" and "USA" was so awesome! Each team came out with a win on that final day of competition, which was a huge accomplishment and so fun to watch and be a part of.

Over the course of this week, social media has been a huge part of spreading the word about futsal and what went on here in Canada. Coach Daniela as well as parents and players tweeted, posted pictures on Instagram, and updated Facebook statuses to show everyone this historic event for the game of futsal and the USA. It allowed our family and friends and other futsal programs to see what was taking place here.

Some of my favorite memories include playing in our intense matches, going out to eat with the team, watching hours of The Kardashians with my roommates Raleigh and Riley while laughing hysterically and the farewell dinner at the Pickle Barrel!

All in all, this trip is one I will never forget!  I will definitely remember it as one of the best futsal experiences of my life. I would like to thank all the coaches for making this trip possible and helping me continue to play the game I love at a high level. Also, thank you to all my teammates for making this week unforgettable. Playing for the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 Girls National Team was a true honor and something I hope to continue in the future.

Happy New Year, safe travels and best wishes for  2015!

Madallyn Peveler is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 girls national team and a resident of Kentucky.

Madalyn Peveler

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Youth National Team Takeover: Auburn Suttles

My name is Auburn Suttles and I am from Chandler, Indiana. Futsal is a sport I have played for several years, and on the U.S. Youth National Team my preferred position is ala. This trip to Toronto has been the first time I have traveled outside of the United States.

After getting up early to eat breakfast at 6:30 on Wednesday, both girls teams had a meeting with the coaches. We talked about how our formation would look like during our games later on. Then we were reminded how special this trip was and that we had already made history in a lot of ways. Afterwards we loaded the bus with the U14 girls and during the ride we sang many genres of music to get pumped for our games.

It was the best feeling walking into the brand new Pan American Sports Centre as representatives of the United States of America. The U14 girls game was first. We cheered them on with the help of the boys’ teams. Well, I should probably rearrange that to: the boys cheered them on with the help of our team!

After eating lunch at the facility we headed to the locker room to get ready. Then we went back to the court to warm up during the boys U14 game. When the boys game was over we got to continue our warm-up on the court to get a feel of how the ball would travel across its surface. Then we did our walk-out and listened to our national anthem as well as the Canadian anthem.

When our game was over we took many pictures and, like any other game, evaluated our performance. Looking back on our previous team grades we noticed that they gradually increased, including how we used segundo pau. 

Auburn Suttles is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 girls national team and a resident of Chandler, Indiana. 

Auburn Suttles

Youth National Team Takeover: Candace Metcalfe

Today we made history. Okay, so actually we first made history yesterday, since that was our first game against Canada, but I'm blogging today so let's just go with it. As Coach Keith Tozer said, "We are pioneers." We are the very first ever U.S. Youth Futsal National Team, which is a pretty huge deal. Most likely some of you reading this just assumed that we are perfect or close to it because we're on a national team, right? Nope, we're not. Otherwise there would be no need for coaches! The point is we are all phenomenal players, but we are still honing our skills, so we make mistakes just like you. We put in our best efforts, work hard, communicate, but sometimes things just don't work out, and that's okay. 

Today we lost by one goal, and at half, we we were up by two. I'm not going to lie. I was a bit upset, as anyone would be, but I know that the game today will be a reminder tomorrow of why we have to work ten times harder, finish strong, and strive for excellence (tomorrow is our last game). A great man once said, "The greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." So tomorrow when we step out onto the court, THAT'S what we plan to do. 

Over the past couple of days, I've had the amazing opportunity to bond and play with experienced and amicable futsal players. Everyone seems to gel very well on the court, despite the fact that we only had our first practice the day before our games began, which is probably due to all the time we spent hanging out during down time. Just the other day, when we were walking back to the hotel from dinner, the entire team broke out singing and rapping. Rock, our goalie, sang especially loud, and I swear she knew almost every word to the songs we were singing (she's kind of awesome like that). We weren't quite harmonized like Pitch Perfect, but it was definitely a show-stopper on the streets of Toronto. :) 

Oh, and I can't leave out the coaches. I would like to give a special thanks to Jason Miller, Ty Stauffer, and Keith Tozer for all their helpful input and taking the time to go over every little detail of the game so we would understand. I especially liked the very, VERY many meetings we had to breakdown the different aspects of the game. 

I'm VERY excited for our final game tomorrow. However, I'm not looking forward to breakfast at 6:45 and having to say goodbye to all my new friends. I wish everyone a safe trip home and a Happy New Year. See everyone next year in 2015 at Costa Rica!

Candace Metcalfe is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 girls national team and a resident of Florida.

Youth National Team Takeover: Chris Pinkham

My name is Chris Pinkham and I play as a fixo for the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 boys National Team. This is the first time I have left the United States, more specifically Concord, N.H.

Traveling to a different country has been a fantastic experience so far! The people of Toronto are very friendly and love their hockey. The most fascinating part of Canada and Canadians has been to experience their customs and traditions.  They act a certain way, talk a certain way, and even have different money than Americans, which I thought was cool!   Toronto as a city is very clean and enormous! I would compare it to Boston, Chicago, or New York. 

The first day of the trip we all got settled into our hotel, The Ramada. We got to introduce ourselves to our teammates,  We also got to meet all the wonderful coaches, who have already taught me so much and will continue to do so. I am very grateful for these coaches because they are here to help us improve and teach us new things -- but not only do they make us better players, they make us better people.

The second day we trained with our respectful teams at the Pan Am Sports Centre. The employees at this wonderful facility were pleased to give their assistance and help in anyway possible. During training Coach Tozer taught us new patterns to run off the ball, how to fortify our goal using our defensive shape, and how to use the fifth attacker if needed. 

The third day was the day everyone was waiting for: game day. This was the time to show everyone what the USA was about, what we all had been working so hard for. The time had come and everyone was ready to take on the opposition. Before the game we all walked out together and stood before the crowd to showcase ourselves and listen to the American and Canadian national anthems. We then proceeded to the game. Everyone was so excited and prepared, it was a great feeling and atmosphere to be in. In the first half we had a dream start -- we did everything right and were all working for each other, and the scoreboard reflected that at 9-1. During the second half we didn't have the same attitude toward the game. We had a big lead so we were more relaxed. The end result was 17-3, a good start for the team. The major key to our success was that we played as a team, everyone played for each other and with a passion for the love of the game.

We are all looking forward to the next couple of days, to play some more futsal and win!

Chris Pinkham is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 Boys National Team. He resides in Concord, N.H.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

National Team Takeover: Ellie Pope

Bonjour! My name is Ellie Pope and I am posting from the U.S. Youth Futsal National Team event in Toronto. I am 16 years old and from Concord, N.H.

In futsal, my preferred position is pivo, then fixo. This is my second time playing my favorite sport, futsal, outside the U.S. -- the last time was in Spain. This is the first U.S. Youth Futsal event for the youth national teams and it is an honor to be posting about it!

Today was the second full day of activities. We had breakfast around 9 and then had a team meeting to prepare for our first match against a Canadian team. We had lunch as a team at noon and left on the bus with the U14 girls for our matches.

Our game against the Canadian team was played at the brand new Pan American Sports Centre, which is amazing. It was great to be able to play on a larger court and gave us all a sense of what it is like to play at the highest level and with a stopped clock.

The group of girls on the team are really nice and fun to play with. I am excited for the future of women's futsal in the U.S and can't wait to continue to grow in and learn about the beauty of futsal! :)

Ellie Pope is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 girls national team. She lives in Concord, N.H.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Youth National Team Takeover: Mikayla Kappes

Today was the first full day of activities for all the U.S. Youth Futsal national teams. This morning after having breakfast as a team, we did some team bonding. Our coach, Jason Miller, has us write down our goals for the trip. Along with improving on technical and tactical skills, most of us said that we wanted to win our games against Canada. After we all shared our goals, Coach Ty Stauffer advised that we make more specific goals than just 'to win." He urged that winning and overall success will come as a byproduct of hard work, focus, organization, heart, etcetera and if we strive for those characteristics then success will follow. His message really hit home with me and throughout the day I made little mental notes and even physically wrote down specific personal and team goals as they came to me. 

Later that day we had training at the beautiful Pan American Sports Centre here in Toronto. The training was really fun and it was great to get my legs moving and start playing with the team. On the bus ride back to our hotel as I sat talking with my new friend and teammate Raleigh, I couldn't stop thinking how grateful I am for this opportunity to play with such high level and friendly girls -- and how excited I am for our first game against the Canadians on Monday. 

At night my team and I had dinner at a local restaurant with all of the other U.S. Youth Futsal national teams and the coaching staff. After just one full day of already so many awesome memories and experiences, I can't wait to see what the rest of this trip holds.

Mikayla Kappes is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U16 girls national team. She hails from San Diego.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Youth National Team Takeover: Vida Raietparvar

The experience has been amazing! At first it's kind of awkward being around people that you don't know from different states, but when you talk to them you realize that they're not different from you. They're from different states and yes they have different habits and such, but once you talk to them you're like "oh, this is someone I can actually hang out with."
Canada isn't a different story. I mean yes it's a different country and yes they were going to be different in some sort of way, but once you go into the country you realize it is nothing like you expected. Once you finally step out of your shell and you have the courage to talk to them, you realize that they're pretty cool people. Another cool thing is that you can go see different talented players from different places around the world and can take inspiration and put that into your game. 
This is my experience so far and it's been a heck of a good one, too!
Vida Raietparvar (below left, with teammate Abby Smith) is a member of the U.S. Youth Futsal U14 girls national team. She hails from Dallas.